From 27+6 weeks, I saw my daughter develop. Not entirely naturally: for the first near two weeks she had machines to help her breathe (ventilator then CPAP) and from 31 weeks she started requiring oxygen again so had two enormous sticking plasters on her cheeks to ensure the nasal cannulas stayed on. She also had a feeding tube, right up until the very tail end of week 36, in time for home at 37 weeks (well 36+6 just to be clever).
At birth she weighed 1090g (2lb 6oz) and at term she weighed 2385kg (5lb 4oz). By full term on her due date, she weighed a very respectable 3.3kg (7lb 5oz).
I can only remember that period of development in emotion now. In grief, regret, tears and heartbreak. And shock, pure shock like a thick blanket. No precious kicks, no scan photographs, no lingering over first purchases of baby grows. No decorating the nursery, no showing off a growing bump, no excitement of choosing names. All that was done in a very intense and stressful situation instead, in a clinical environment with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and beeps, always the beeps.
Our milestones were suddenly very different. Ventilators, IV fluids, antibiotics, diuretics, vitamins, caffeine, oxygen, feeding tubes, phototherapy, hot cots. And cuddles and cares. Snatched minutes of the day allowed to touch and interact with your child. The bliss of having them close, of your lips and hot breath tickling their fragile thin skin, breathing them in deeply to remember until the next 23 hours later...